Future Shock? The Future is Here!

“Change is the progress by which the future invades our lives.” ó Alvin Toffler, introduction to Future Shock, 1970 Our industry has been going through a dramatic transformation over the past 10+ years. It began with the Internet and has developed to a level of sophistication that many did not think possible. It’s time to take a moment to realize what has been accomplished. It is no longer enough to talk and write about the future or what could be. It’s time to realize a transformation has begun and that many organizations are reaping the benefits of advanced recruiting technology and processes. Companies today are experiencing dramatic recruitment results through advanced talent management processes, technology and solutions. Some recent examples:

  • A software company hires 21 account executives from their private talent community of 60,000 prospects in three weeks. Results: Fast time to fill, quality candidates, no agency fees, and a very happy VP of Sales.
  • A hospital in New Zealand hires two burn surgeons from the UK in two weeks. They were identified from their global private talent community in 48 hours. Results: Hired in days versus months, saved money and lives.
  • A Director of Marcom began his relationship with his employer at the company’s career site anonymously months before the right opportunity for him was posted and emailed to him. He reacted immediately and was hired in a few days. Results: Fast quality hire, low cost, and a huge supporter of his company’s internal talent organization.

Recruiting Relationships Everywhere It is rapidly becoming the strategic responsibility of the talent organization to build interactive relationships via the Internet with every prospective candidate in your space ó including current, past, and future talent. It has been said many times that the companies who understands this and takes action today wins; those who don’t will struggle. Whether we experience the impending talent shortage so well described in Roger Herman’s book The Impending Crises, Too Many Jobs – Too Few People or not, the ability to communicate with prospective candidates is paramount. We need to communicate with consistent, personal messages that compel them to consider employment opportunities. We need to do so in efficient, scalable ways with immediate results. You owe it to your company to ensure you have the best relationships with all the top talent if you plan to play a key strategic role in accomplishing corporate goals. If you don’t build interactive relationships with 100% of the talent today, understand that any percentage is likely better than what you currently have today and that 100% should be a goal. Relate to All Talent Toffler predicted a future with a network that would allow communication with all, all the time. This is already happening in our industry, as we are building interactive recruiting relationships with both passive and active candidates through our websites. But these communications still require the proper attraction techniques, including:

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  • Allowing the prospective candidate to “profile” what they want to do
  • Ensuring this process takes no more than 90 seconds
  • Allowing the candidate to remain confidential
  • Allowing the candidate to give their permission to receive additional data on your company

Your responses, too, must be appropriate. They must be:

  • Immediate
  • Specific to the prospective candidate’s needs
  • Consistent
  • Compelling
  • Truthful
  • Respectful

Building and maintaining a private talent community of passive and active candidates at your website is the only way you can accomplish the points raised here. Ask yourself: How many prospects come by your website, visit your career page and leave because they do not see a position of interest or do not wish to leave their contact information or resume? Instead, they simply want to let you know they have some interest and would like to be apprised of information specific to them as it becomes available. It shouldn’t be a futuristic notion, but companies today are learning a new recruiting code and mantra: “Do Unto Others.” Companies are realizing fantastic results because they practice “gracious recruiting” at their site. They understand you’re a visitor, they understand you know and influence prospective candidates, they see that you might be a consumer of their products or services and at the very least are a likely influencer. They clearly understand that the experience at the website is not just a little thing, it is everything. Make the prospect want to learn more, make them enjoy the experience; respect their time, their views, their confidentiality. Thank them for their interest and time. Treat them as you would like to be treated, and you will garner great results. Future Talent Executives All in our industry should stand up and accept the strategic opportunity that is ours. Companies are looking for ways to become more competitive, productive, and profitable. When they look to the profit-and-loss statement, they see they have a large percentage of their budget tied to talent. They will soon start asking to measure talent results at much deeper and meaningful levels. And they turn to you. Many have written that it is time for the HR or talent executive to take a seat at the executive table. It is, but be ready. The seat is one of accountability. Understand what needs to be accomplished by aligning talent goals with corporate goals, find ways to accomplish, and then perform. And if you don’t have the talent or tools you need don’t wait get them now. The Future Is Here! Toffler predicted a number of changes in his 1970 book Future Shock, including one that we would all be tied together by a network that would change the way we work and live. The year 1970 seems long ago to some of you, but the advances experienced since then are quite incredible and have impacted our industry for the good. The Internet has affected the transfer of talent with positive advances for both the company and candidate. The changes are just beginning, however, and it is time we understand how far we’ve come and implement accordingly for greater recruitment and retention results. It is not easy, but clearly demonstrates the effectiveness, increased productivity and positive results we can achieve through the Internet, technology and the right recruiting processes. I wish you all a successful and bountiful 2003. In the meantime…great recruiting!

Hank Stringer is CEO of Stringer Executive Search in Austin, Texas. He has three decades of experience as a successful executive recruiter, consultant, author, industry speaker, and entrepreneur in the creation and use of Internet technology for the recruitment process. Contact him at (512) 904-1038 or hank@hankstringer.com. Visit his website at http://www.hankstringer.com.

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